×

True Measure of Fox’s ‘Following’

Future of rookie drama looks a lot brighter

It’s been a tough season for new Big Four comedies, but the rookie drama class is starting to looking brighter.

After a fall that produced the successful “Revolution” on NBC and “Elementary” on CBS as well as the solid-enough “Nashville” on ABC and “Chicago Fire” on NBC, Fox has found a following for its creepy serial-killer series “The Following.” With “Bones” and “Glee” well past their prime, and the exit of “House” last spring, a new hourlong hit is just what the doctor ordered, especially with the net’s other new fall drama this season, “The Mob Doctor,” a bust out of the gate.

Since it bowed in mid-January, the Kevin Bacon-fronted “Following” has ruled as Monday’s No. 1 drama in adults 18-49 and has consistently built upon its lead-in from veteran crimer “Bones.” In same-night results, the first six outings of “The Following” have averaged a 2.9 rating in the key demo, vs. a 2.3 for “Bones.”

But as is the case with many shows these days, the same-night numbers reported the day after a program premieres tells only part of the story.

“The Following” has emerged as an especially strong performer in DVR playback, gaining an average of 1.9 ratings points (from 3.1 to 5.0) for the first three weeks for which full-week numbers are available. By this measure, it’s neck and neck with “Revolution” and ABC vet “Grey’s Anatomy” as the top-rated broadcast dramas for the season in 18-49 (original episodes only). And in total viewers, “The Following” skyrockets from its average of 9.8 million viewers on Monday night to 14.2 million for full-week viewing.

But even that’s not the whole story.

As the Big Four pester Nielsen to come up with a single-metric rating so that all viewing of their shows is counted — including Video-on-Demand and streaming — networks have begun to take it upon themselves to total up viewing for some shows.

Fox points out, for example, that the 10.42 million viewers on average that “The Following” attracted on Monday nights for its first three airings catapults to 20.09 million when all viewing options are considered. That figure includes 4.68 million viewers in Live+7 (full-week DVR playback), 3.37 million in the show’s weekly television repeats (which aired in primetime some weeks on Friday, others on Saturday), 1.38 million via streaming on Fox.com and Hulu and 1.03 million in VOD (up to 14 days after the show’s television premiere).

It’s numbers like these that make the next morning’s “overnight rating” seem rather quaint when trying to track a show’s true following.

More TV

  • What to Watch on TV This

    What to Watch on TV This Week: ‘Picard' Premieres and 'Shrill' Returns

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Star Trek: Picard” beams into existence on CBS All Access and “Shrill” returns [...]

  • SAG Awards 2020: What You Didn't

    SAG Awards 2020: From Charlize Theron to 'Parasite,' What You Didn't See on TV

    Brad Pitt made a crack about his marriages. Robert De Niro got political. And Jennifer Aniston talked about appearing in a commercial for Bob’s Big Boy. Those were just some of thing that happened on stage at the SAG Awards that were broadcast on TNT/TBS on Sunday night. However, Variety was inside the Shrine Auditorium [...]

  • Edges Unknown

    TCB, Cineflix, All3Media Announce Sales Ahead of NATPE Miami

    Miami’s NATPE market kicks off on Tuesday, but deal announcements are already landing. London-based TCB Media Rights has sold 130 hours of content to Latin America, Cineflix and National Geographic Latin America closed a deal for four titles, and Discovery Latin America picked up popular makeover format “10 Years Younger” from All3Media. TCB’s 130 Hours [...]

  • U.K. Broadcaster Channel 5 Readies Thomas

    U.K. Broadcaster Channel 5 Readies Thomas Markle Documentary

    ViacomCBS-backed U.K. broadcaster Channel 5 will air a 90-minute documentary on Meghan Markle’s father Thomas Markle. Markle and her husband Prince Harry sparked a global media frenzy earlier this month with their decision not to continue as senior members of the British Royal Family. Buckingham Palace announced that the couple are to lose their royal [...]

  • Tony Hall BBC Director General

    BBC Boss Tony Hall Lands at U.K.'s National Gallery

    BBC director general Tony Hall has been appointed chair of the board of trustees of the National Gallery. The executive, who has served on the Gallery’s board since November, takes over as chair from Sir John Kingman, who has been interim chair since Hannah Rothschild stood down from the role in September. Hall said: “The [...]

  • Fox TV Stations Greenlight 'Central Ave'

    Fox TV Stations Greenlight 'Central Ave' From Will Packer, Debmar-Mercury

    Fox Television Stations has ordered the weekly entertainment news magazine “Central Ave,” which hails from prolific film and TV producer Will Packer and Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury. Debmar-Mercury and Will Packer Media will produce two half-hour shows per week of “Central Ave,” which tackles pop culture and other topics from a “socially conscious and diverse lens,” per [...]

  • Frontrunners Emerge As BBC's Tony Hall

    Frontrunners Emerge as BBC Boss Tony Hall Set to Leave Broadcasting Behind

    As the U.K. industry reacts to news of Tony Hall’s intention to depart the BBC this July, top-level executives including Charlotte Moore and Tim Davie as well as external contenders such as Channel 4’s Alex Mahon are beginning to emerge. Variety understands that Lord Hall, who has headed the BBC for seven years as director [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content